Councillor Turrell Objects to 25m Commonside Phone Tower

Councillor Thomas Turrell has submitted a formal objection to the telecoms tower proposed for Commonside Car Park; citing concerns about the height, proximity to houses, loss of parking and damage to green spaces in a conversation area as the core reasons. In July Councillor Turrell met with residents in the affected area to listen to their concerns and about the alternative site residents would like looked into.

The planning application, submitted by an operator is for a “25m lattice tower (painted green) on concrete base supporting 6 no antennas (height to top 25m), 1no 300mm dish and 1no 600mm dish, together with ground-based cabinets within a compound formed by a 2.4m palisade fence together with ancillary development thereto.”

Following a meeting with residents, and communication with the Keston Village Residents Association, Councillor Turrell has submitted his objection making the following points:

Out of Character: The size of the mast (25m) is inconsistent with the conversation area and would be out of character with the area. Having spoken to residents I am aware they would be more supportive of the mast in a different location such as the car park between Baston Road and West Common Road which is further away from the properties.

Impact on parking: There are already a number of parking issues along Commonside. The Common itself is an important green space enjoyed by local people with two popular venues – Daisy Grey and the Greyhound pub opposite the green. This proposal would reduce parking in the Commonside Car Park and therefore increase strain on local parking infrastructure.

Damage to green spaces: This proposal would see trees and other greenery removed from Keston Common. Keston Village is part of a conversation area so that the character of the village can be protected.

Access to the Footpath: The equipment at its housing at the base of the tower could also restrict access to the footpath between the common and the car park. This could make visiting and enjoying the common more challenging for some in society which I why I am opposing this application.

Keston Village does suffer from poor phone signal. Councillors have not submitted an objection to the tower proposed for Westerham Road at the other side of the Village as this is set away from properties. Residents have also highlighted the car park between Baston Road and West Common Road as an alternative site for such a tower in recognition of the need.

Councillors have also called in the decision to ensure it is heard before one of the Councils’ Planning Committees and not decided behind closed doors. As Councillor Michael sits on a planning committee, she must remain impartial on this matter.

Councillor Turrell said:

“I thank residents for taking the time to meet with me and discuss their concerns. I also thank them for the thoughtfulness of identifying an alternative site and not dismissing the need to improve mobile connectivity in the Village. I have made a submission as the Ward Councillor to object to the current proposals and have discussed the matter with officers at the Civic Centre to address some of the other concerns raised with me. We have called in this decision to ensure it is a decision taken by elected councillors on the planning committee in public and not decided behind closed doors. The planning process must now run its course, but I hope the applicant will take the time to look at the alternative site proposed by residents before proceeding further with this proposal.”

This post was written on the 27th July 2022. Since the post was written and video filmed (in August) the application has been withdrawn. Councillors continue to monitor for if a revised application has been submitted, which has not happened at the time of publication.

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